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The journey from Belgrade to Bar is one of the most spectacular train journeys in Europe. It’s a marvel of engineering, with 254 tunnels and 435 bridges on the 296-mile journey from the Serbian capital to the Adriatic coast, Construction of the line started in the 1950s but only completed in 1976, opened by President Tito himself.
The central station in Belgrade is permanently closed on July 2018 and the trains are departing from Topcider. I had problem in finding Topcider station initially, took Tram No 4 to wrong direction. After former Yugoslovia broke down , train services are in a derelict state and no longer a preferred mode of transport.
The train crosses from Serbia to Montenegro with a Serbian passport check at Prijepolje then a Montenegrin passport check at Bijelo Polje . On the way is Užice , which was the first in Yugoslavia to be liberated from the Nazis in the Second World War. From here the train continues to continue southwards to Montenegrin capital of Podgorica. This part also includes the line’s most dramatic topography. The tunnels come thick and fast. They show what a feat it represents, this narrow electric track worming its way down the Balkans, at times suspended thrillingly above glassy riverbeds, at others burrowing deep into the mountains.
After leaving the border, we reached the highest point of the route, at 3,386 feet above sea level, in Kolašin. This is when the journey becomes even more dramatic. On both sides of the train, you’ll see impressive mountains soaring into the sky and the Moraca River winding beneath the tracks. The tracks also cross through a side canyon here by way of the Mala Rijeka viaduct (highest in Europe) . We pass through birch forests. We veer briefly into Bosnia for a few miles of bulging hills, then track back into Serbia. A small town with two minarets glides by and finally we reach to the capital of Montenegro.
After leaving the industries of Podgorica behind, the tracks will run alongside the stunning Lake Skadar for a few miles . Skadar Lake is the largest lake at the Balkan Peninsula, with fresh water and one of the largest national parks in Montenegro. It’s extremely famous for its diversity of flora and fauna. Lake itself is unusual for mutual vicinity of different living areas and their chain of feeding.
It finally plunges into one last tunnel, the Sozina tunnel, one of the longest on the journey.
Eventually, the journey brings you along the sun-kissed coast, treating you to views of the Adriatic Coast, before ending in the final destination of Bar.
… next Bar
Note: I booked my ticket in advance from Mr Popovic in Belgrade as shown here